Letter: Sun shines on January beach gang

There was a good turn-out of local and out-of-town helpers for last Saturday's January beach clean-up.

Before the sun rose this past cleanup day, I laid in bed listening to the squall roll in. The trees creaked as the west wind hit and the hail pelted the windows. ‘Ugh,’ I thought, ‘please, not on cleanup day!’ After the sun rose we had a bit of a break and then at 9 a.m. another shot of rain and wind. Then the clouds parted and the sun came out to join me in thanking all the wonderful folks who came out to clean the beach that day! 

And what a turnout it was, that cold, showery morning. Upwards of 300 volunteers cleaned our beaches! Some came in for the day from Portland (including my niece Sarah), and some enjoyed a weekend here from Seattle. Our local schools turned out in large numbers and many from the Ocean Park Lutheran Church helped, too. What a good community time we shared with them! A blanket of gratitude is spread over all who participated and a closer view highlights them as follows. 

First let’s thank those several businesses and organizations that contribute to our cleanups on a regular basis: Jack’s Country Store, The Berry Patch Restaurant, Long Beach Coffee Roasters, Sid’s Market, Okie’s Thriftway and 42nd Street Café. And, as always, to the Chinook Observer for helping to spread the word with announcements and articles (awareness is so critical to our success). An extra special thanks to those businesses who advertised the cleanup in print, on their reader boards or displayed our banners: Chinook Observer, Pioneer Market, funbeach.com, Long Beach Visitors Bureau, Taft Plumbing, Raymond Federal Credit Union, Box K Auto, city of Long Beach, Ocean Park Elementary and the Peninsula Senior Center — thank you! 

Our very special thanks to our dozens of key volunteers who come and clean as well as the many who organize, develop newsletters, write articles, make soup, set up, clean up, make gorgeous signs, make phone calls, answer e-mails, drive their trucks and collect bags, bring crane trucks to get the really big stuff, ham radio operators that assist in communication, and you all! I’d be hard-pressed to hear of another organization that has as much diverse participation or the level of organization as this one does. Again — thanks to you all! 

To our Adopt-A-Beach Groups and approach coordinators — thank you for your ongoing commitment, enthusiasm and caring. Two new members, our local Cub Scouts Pack 29 and Quakers, and our ongoing groups: Amundsons, Lesley Ferguson’s Farmers Insurance, Friends of Columbia Gateway, Breakers, Surfside Homeowners Association, Sporseens, Kate and Del Bayne, the Hansons, Stonebreakers, Stettners, Cooks, Logans, Joe Johns Neighbors, Kiwanis Club, Life’s a Beach, North Ocean Park Neighbors, Grovers, Shoalwater Birders, Larys, Schroeders and Lorentes, Peninsula Rotary, Ilwaco High School. Honor Society, Ilwaco Middle/High School, Eerie 8’s, Magnusons, Frosts, Kelly Rupp, Kennedys, Lewises, Sartins (some of you were missed this clean up — we’ll see you in April) and all the wonderful volunteers and supporters, so many left unnamed but never unappreciated! 

The potluck the night before was extra, extra special (thanks to Peninsula Baptist Church for sharing their wonderful space with us — so very welcoming you all are). We were entertained with a special poem from Gayle Borchard presented by Michael Campallone. Mary Garvey had the crowd listening intently to her stories she so wonderfully shared and heightened with lyric and rhythm. We all enjoyed it tremendously and we learned so much, too. The soup feed was as wonderful as always; we so appreciate the talent of our soup-crafters, Steve Pollock, Gayle Borchard, Susan Clark and Jane Holeman. Thanks to Susi and Steve for cleaning up! You, too, Gayle! Many thanks to the Moose Lodge for inviting us to use their great space too, very generous! 

We had several groups, dozens and dozens of people who were repeat volunteers, and some visitors who were first-timers or recently moved to the area. We love meeting new people! What a difference each pair of hands made toward our clean beach. We so hope everyone who participated enjoyed themselves, felt a great sense of satisfaction and connection to this community and beach, and will join us whenever they can. Lastly, our thanks to Kelly Rupp and Bev Arnoldy for generously storing so much of our supplies and to the organizations that paid to dump all we collected; Pacific County Marine Resource Committee, city of Long Beach and Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. 

My apologies to those I’ve missed, and I know I’ve missed some important efforts. Please know that we couldn’t have had nearly the success without you. My thanks to everyone for doing all you’ve done and will do to keep our beaches and waters clean, safer for the birds, wildlife and us. 

The Grass Roots Garbage Gang is an all-volunteer, Washington state not-for-profit group that cleans up the Peninsula beaches in Southwest Washington. Each January, April and July hundreds of volunteers clean the Peninsula’s 25-mile beach. Support comes from incredible volunteers, local businesses, city of Long Beach, Marine Resource Committee, Washington State Parks and many others. For more information visit www.ourbeach.org.

Shelly Pollock

665-5388, Shelly@OurBeach.org

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